The excitement level is expectedly high as the 2020 edition of the Great Indian summer fest is fast approaching. The thirteenth edition of the lucrative league will kick-off on March 29th in what will be a repeat of last year's final, with Mumbai Indians taking on Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium. Citing personal reasons, tight schedule, workload and injuries, several players have withdrawn from the tournament since its inception and this season will be no different in this aspect.
Hence franchises must be ready to balance as well bolster their squad in case some of their players pull out of 2020 IPL. In fact, a few players have cemented their spots despite coming in as a replacement signing after going unsold at the auctions.
One of the best examples is 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle who went on to establish himself as a mainstay in RCB's XI ever-since joining the franchise as a replacement to the injured former Aussie pacer Dirk Nannes back in 2011. On that note, let us look at three replacement signings of last season who despite going unsold at the auction might return to 2020 IPL as replacements.
1) Alzarri Joseph
Mumbai Indians roped in Alzarri Joseph as a replacement to the injured Kiwi speedster Adam Milne last season. The 23-year-old grabbed the headlines with his record-breaking bowling performance on his IPL debut against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their own backyard. In his fiery 3.4 over-spell, Joseph who finished with the figures of 6/12 registered the best figures in the history of IPL thereby surpassing Sohail Tanveer who took 6/14 against Chennai Super Kings back in season one.
The Antiguan who featured in just three matches for Mumbai Indians throughout 2019 IPL after coming in as a replacement was ruled out of the remainder of season twelve due to the shoulder injury he sustained against Rajasthan Royals and was eventually replaced by Beuran Hendricks.
Also see – World Test Championship points table
Though he was expected to be retained by Rohit Sharma's men for 2020 IPL having impressed in the few games he played last year, he was released by the four-time winners who acquired the services of Trent Boult during the trading window.
Despite proving himself in the league last year, he went unsold at 2020 IPL auction with a base price of INR 50 lakhs. Nevertheless, the talented pacer has been sensational in the West Indies' last two ODI assignments having finished as the highest wicket-taker on both occasions (10 wickets vs Sri Lanka and 8 wickets vs Ireland). Given his current form, bowling credentials and last year's IPL performance, Alzarri Joseph might once again come back as a replacement signing this season.
2) Scott Kuggeleijn
Son of former New Zealand cricketer Chris Kuggeleijn, Scott Kuggeleijn was signed as a replacement to the injured Lungi Ngidi by Chennai Super Kings last year. The 28-year-old who managed two wickets in the two matches he played for MS Dhoni's men throughout 2019 IPL, was released by the three-time winners ahead of 2020 IPL auction where he found no buyers with a base price of INR 50 lakhs.
The right-arm fast-medium bowler, who took 9 wickets in the 2019-20 Super Smash T20 for Northern Knights, featured in three T20Is during the five-match series against Virat Kohli's men. He was also the chief tormentor (3/40) during India's first innings in the three-day practice match (representing New Zealand XI) at Seddon Park last month.
Kuggeleijn who has represented the Blackcaps in 2 ODIs and 12 T20Is so far, has 243 First-class, 117 List A and 84 T20 wickets to his name. The Hamilton-born bowling all-rounder who is a valuable batsman lower down the order has a T20 strike-rate is 131.25, apart from his three First-class centuries and three List A half-centuries. A valuable T20 commodity, the experienced campaigner might be a valuable addition given his all-round credentials.
3) Beuran Hendricks
Mumbai Indians signed Beuran Hendricks as a replacement to the injured West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph who himself came in as a replacement to the injured Adam Milne last season. The Proteas pacer who has had a two-year (2014 and 2015) stint with Kings XI Punjab picking up nine wickets in seven matches, did not get an opportunity to don the Mumbai Indians jersey last year.
The 29-year-old, who was instrumental in Jozi Stars' title win in the 2018-19 Mzansi Super League, failed to replicate his performance in 2019-20 Mzansi Super League for Nelson Mandela Bay Giants (four wickets in four matches).
Nevertheless, he was rewarded for his consistency across formats for Lions in the South African domestic circuit with a spot in South Africa's Test squad against England. Making his Test debut at the Wanderers, the left-arm fast-medium bowler took a five-wicket haul in the second innings.
With 307 First-class, 104 List A and 97 T20 wickets to his name, the Bellville-born pacer who went unsold with a base price of INR 50 lakhs at 2020 IPL auction might come back as a replacement given his bowling variations, especially in the death overs.